So being an entrepreneur I meet and hang out with other entrepreneurs and I just can’t help but notice how incredibly irritating we can be sometimes. The reality is that the average person doesn’t care how awesome your business is doing—seriously. So I figured I’d come up with an etiquette list for entrepreneurs—it’s a pretty good guideline to follow if you want to avoid being that annoying person at the dinner table (a.k.a. a complete a**hole).
–Only answer if they ask. Unless someone asks you a specific question about your business don’t offer an answer. John Smith across the table could care less about how your company performed in Q4—unless he asks of course. In the event of a question, only answer the question! Don’t go rambling on about a million other things, you sound silly and insecure. Answer and move on.
–Humility is the best policy. If you’re doing well, act like it. People that are successful and making a lot of money don’t need to talk about how successful they are or how much money they make. Remember to remain humble and not boast about your achievements. Your tone and body language say a lot about your character—make sure you don’t big yourself up, whether you deserve it or not.
–Be interested in other people. That’s a life rule really—you gotta be genuinely interested in other people or you’ll become boring very quickly. If someone asks you a question about your work, answer and ask a question back! This is not an interview; you’re not on a pedestal waiting for people to inquire about how awesome you are. You can learn a lot from the person across from you so make sure your ego doesn’t get in the way of the opportunity.
–Don’t preach what you practice. Is there anything more infuriating than people who try to tell you how to run your business? You can give advice and try to be helpful, but don’t preach about how something worked for you so person A and person B should totally try it because they would be silly if they didn’t. What’s silly is you assuming what worked for you will work for them. Recommendations are great—lectures are painful.
–Get off your phone. Emailing, texting and answering work calls while out with other people is just rude. I admit I’m guilty of this quite often but realize how disrespectful it is when someone does it to me. If you can’t go out for dinner without picking up your phone to do anything work related…don’t go out for dinner. No one—not your family, friends or colleagues should have to put up with your busy schedule when they’re just trying to enjoy your company.
Ok it felt good to get that off my chest. Now go be good entrepreneurs and don’t forget your manners!